Thursday, March 16, 2006

Nelson Mandela

Recycled farewell speeches...
The allCiudad diplocommunity has been busying itself with successive farewell parties to honour JazzCool, the departing Ambassador from the huge southernmost chunk of Africa. This blogger of yours went to two of them, an honest performance-as-blogger statistic.
The first one was at the Puerta de Hierro imposing mansion of DerIngenier, that old Madrid acquaintance of this blogger of yours and therefore also of the Right Honourable Reader. The speech from the exiting HoM (Head of Mission) or CMD (Chef de Mission Diplomatique) was the traditional blend of debating accuracy, serious soundbites, sentimentality and near-veaudevillesque histrionics. The whole routine of a pro! Quite effective, one might add, while taking mental notes for future personal farewell toasts.
An enormous selling point for a diplomat from that country, or for any national from it for that matter, is the iconic status of President Nelson Mandela. The SouthAfrican Statesman's charisma is a kind of stardust that confers upon those who get close-by a kind of glow that shows...
At the second party, in downtown Calle Serrano, hosted by the Bielayaprinceza, this blogger of yours arrived awfully late, even by Spaniard standards, and missed the speech. But Ambassador JazzCool tranquilized me by saying I hadn't loose that much since it was recycled from the previous one I had witnessed.
With the smoked salmon someone commented that Mandela was a Royal figure pretty much like H.M. King Juan Carlos in these shores. All around this blogger of yours there was endorsing bodylanguage, which was ironical given the amount of more traditional monarchists present. I intervened to recall the very last "European Tour" of President Mandela, and his stop in Cardiff, where a meeting of EU leaders was taking place. People on the streets were ecstatic and gathered in almost anti-Irak War numbers to salute the hero of the Down With Apartheid movement. With a hint of moralist nostalgia I confessed it was pleasant to see the masses demonstrating for a Statesman like Mandela rather than for a Bono or another Rock or Movie Star (an awful wordplay just came to my mind "rather William Pitt than Brad Pitt"). Guests recalled then their own meetings with the President, at one time with Reverend Tutu present.
That's when the chat spotlight in the dinner-party turned to Desmond Tutu and we were told by Herhelenichighness a most delicious soundbite with which this blogger of yours will avail himself to punch-line this post. Very recently, in Seville, for a ceremony related to the Andalusian Junta-sponsored contribution to an hospital in South Africa, Reverend Tutu enchanted his audience. With his inimitable smile he thanked their charitable gesture saying: "I came to you to bring you tickets, for each and one of you, to Heaven. Just, please, wait a bit and refrain from using the tickets right away."

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